UK & World News

  • 10 August 2014, 13:00

Alligator Savages Boy, 9, In Florida Lake

A nine-year-old boy has told how he survived an attack by a nine-foot alligator while swimming in a Florida lake.

James Barney Jr spoke from his hospital bed after being savaged by the creature, leaving him with 30 marks from both claws and teeth. 

At a news conference at Florida's Arnold Palmer hospital, James told reporters he didn't realise what was happening at first.

"It really amazed me what happened," James said.

"At first I thought someone was just playing with me and I didn't know what happened. 

"I reached down to go grab it and I felt its jaw - I felt its teeth and I didn't know what to do, so I immediately reacted and hit a couple of times.

"And then finally I had enough strength left to pry its jaw open a little."

The attack happened at Lake Toho in St Cloud, Florida, near the popular tourist destination of Orlando.

The surgeon who treated the boy said the alligator left about 30 marks from both claws and teeth, leaving a tooth embedded in the skin.

James wanted to keep the tooth, but said officials wouldn't let him.

"The tooth is pretty big. I wanted to keep it but animal control came in and took it so they could find the alligator that attacked me," he said.

James said officials estimated the beast to measure about nine-feet long (2.75m) and weigh in at 500 pounds (226kg).

Officials have since closed the beach, and brought in trappers to try to catch the animal.

Asked whether he planned to go for a dip in Lake Toho again, James replied: "Negative."

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